What would you do differently if you had 365 days left in your life? Which fears would cease to hold power over you? Which hopes and dreams would bubble back to the surface?
Would you work at the same job? Would you ‘do’ less and ‘be’ a little more? And when you do things, would they be things you value? Would you learn that second language? Walk in the forest more often? Take the trip you’ve been putting off? Say yes to that person who’s been asking you out? Give your child the time they crave instead of ‘maybe later.’ Hire a housecleaner once in awhile? Take piano lessons? Volunteer?
Would you trust more and worry less? Pursue that business idea that you fear is too risky? Call friends, clear your schedule, have coffee dates instead of email? Would you celebrate whatever the day brought just for the gift of the day? Would you dream and follow those dreams even though time was short?
The question of whether we’re falling or flying on any particular day matters much less I think than the question of whether we’re living or dying. Why do we fear falling, crashing to the ground, so much? And is this really anything to fear? What falling often means to us is that we have failed, or that what we dreamed wasn’t meant to be. What if it is just 1 of 42 endeavors before our wings catch the air… and we must trust and persevere from 1 to 41? Should we not fear more that dark place that holds our feet to the ground and renders us frozen and unrealistic, imagining a day when we will have more courage than we do right now.
Yes, we can choose to dream of the ‘someday’ when things will fall into place, live for a ‘utopian’ future when we are more and better than we are today, and that person we imagine to be in the future will have all that we lack now and will do all we now fear to do.
Death comes in many ways while we’re still breathing. Look into your own eyes… into your own heart each day. Are you living or dying? It is each of ours to answer but our answer affects many more people and circumstances than we know. What will be the treasures and gifts of our life? Hours, days, years getting somewhere that turns out to be a mirage that always shimmered just out of reach? Or a life that we endeavor to bring into the present each day… shedding those things and thoughts that steal the beauty that is only in the present moment.
Some people have a way of saying so much more in fewer words…
‘Tomorrow… today won’t feel so long.’
~Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
‘Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.’
~James Dean, 1931-1955, age 24
‘Don’t let the fear of falling keep you from knowing the joy of flight.’
‘When we walk to the edge of all the light we have and take the step into the darkness of the unknown, we must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for us to stand on or we will be taught to fly.’
‘A man can criticize a pilot for flying into a mountainside in fog, but I would rather by far die on a mountainside than in bed. What sort of man would live where there is no daring? Is life itself so dear that we should blame one for dying in adventure? Is there a better way to die?’
~Charles A. Lindbergh
Falling or Flying, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals